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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dem Play To Take Back ABQ City Council; Big Money Flows Against Arnold-Jones, Plus: Susana On The Phones For Berry, And: More City Election Round-Up  

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Democrats have sent mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli sailing alone into rough political waters, but when it comes to the city council seat that could determine whether the Dems take control of the council, it's all hands on deck.

A third party progressive group--Duke City Rising--has so far raised at least $54,000 in mostly union money.

Much of it appears to be aimed at defeating Republican City Councilor Janice Arnold-Jones in her ABQ NE Heights district.

As you can see from the piece posted here, they are hitting her hard on the hot-button issues of abortion and the minimum wage. That makes sense because 47% of the voters in her district are registered D's.

Arnold-Jones, a former GOP state rep and and a 2010 governor candidate, was appointed by Mayor Berry this year to fill a council vacancy. She is seeking election in her own right, but is getting stiff opposition from Democrat Diane Gibson, who is retired from Sandia National Labs.

Democrat Matt Biggs is also in the race, but Gibson is the Dem fave and getting the big money backing.

The abortion issue pops up now because it will be the subject of a November 19 special election. A proposed ordinance that was placed on the ballot via citizen petition would ban just about all abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Arnold-Jones will be voting for it. Gibson is against.

Arnold-Jones' campaign says the abortion issue has nothing to do with the city election and other issues should dominate. She claims the Dems are scared because their base voters are not motivated to vote in this election.

Republicans have a 6 to 3 majority on the nine member council, but our experts say if the Dems can take the Arnold-Jones seat the council would end up flipping in the Dems favor, 5 to 4.

The action may very well not end in District 7 on October 8--Election Day. If none of the three candidates gets 50% of the vote. there's a run off-election. And it would take place November 19--the same day that the controversial abortion measure will be voted on.

Gibson opted for public financing and received over $45,000 to conduct her campaign. Arnold-Jones opted for private money and so far has raised over $40,000. Biggs is the laggard, raising about $28,000.

The union money for Gibson is going unanswered from Republican interest groups. Like the Dems with Dinelli, Arnold-Jones appears to be sailing alone when it comes to getting the R's to throw in major money.

MAYOR ACTION

Our readers report Governor Martinez was heard on the phones in support of Mayor  Berry this week, She cut an audio recording touting him for re-election. Earlier, Susana sent out a letter to Republicans endorsing Berry:

He balanced budgets by making government more efficient and without raising taxes. He's been an innovative leader who has Albuquerque moving in the right direction, despite the national recession and federal budget cuts...

Meantime, Lt. Governor Sanchez made a robo-call for GOP City Council candidate Janice Arnold-Jones.

Berry is on track to raise over $800,000 for his campaign, Dinelli who opted for public financing had only about $350,000 to spend.

The money difference is now becoming clear. TV ads attacking Dinelli's ethics and competence are going unanswered by his campaign.

And then there is the issue of the Democratic Party and the labor unions. Neither has formed a PAC for Dinelli to shore up his finances. They essentially threw in the towel on him in the early going. Now he needs a major event to hold Berry below 50% on October 8 and force a run-off election.

TALKING TURNOUT

In looking over the city registration numbers sent over to us by Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, one thing stands out--the very large number of registered voters. We are at 364,000.

Compare that to 2005 when we had about 281,000 registered. That year we had a turnout in the mayoral election of about 87,000 votes or some 31% of the registered. In 2009, we slipped to 84,187, a turnout of 25% of the registered. And now with that large registration brought about in large part we suspect by the two Obama presidential elections--we are unlikely to get close to 25%.

Dems outnumber R's in the city 166,744 to 112,139. There are 70,991 independents and 14,187 voters in "other" parties.

The lower the turnout the better for Mayor Berry as R's are the most reliable voters.

MISS HIM YET?

What's this sign still doing up out on Coors Road in ABQ in the middle of this mayoral election?

So wonders reader Jennifer Toulouse who snapped this pic of and old campaign sign of former three term ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez.

The sign is certainly standing the test of time and so will some of Chavez's accomplishments--like that renovation of Tingley Beach.

No, Marty isn't running this time--not even as a write-in. Chavez, 61, was defeated for a fourth term in 2009. He now lives in DC and works as a lobbyist.

And what of the other mayors who have served in the position since it came into being with the council/mayor form of government in 1974? We've known them all....

Harry Kinney and Louis Saavedra have passed on. David Rusk is an urban expert who lives in Washington, D.C. Ken Schultz lives in Nevada and Jim Baca is retired and living in ABQ.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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